Computers are categorized in “generations”. First generation computers are state of the art and very expensive compared to the amount of money you pay. However, some people (gamers?) just “need” the cutting edge, and thus they fund the companies R&D. The second generation is the most value for money. The third generation is the cheapest but it is getting so old that modern programs do not always run on the machines. A way to prevent dropping down to third generation is to stay clear of Microsoft and Apple and stay with Linux. In fact a good way to save an old computer is to install Linux on it.

Now, the movie industry also works in generations. We have first generation viewers, second generation viewers, and maybe even third and fourth generation viewers.

  1. First generation viewers have no patience. They watch movies on the premier date or shortly thereafter. They pay $5-10 or however much it is. Add $15 more if you want $1 worth of popcorn. On TV they have cable or sat to watch new episodes on the day they air.
  2. Second generation viewers wait until the movie or the series come out on DVD. This typically takes up to a year. Second generation viewers can save a lot of money this way. Initially going from 1st to 2nd generation may seem like being left out, but once you’re solidly in the second generation, “new” movies appear as fast as always, only the money doesn’t disappear as fast.
  3. Third generation viewers pick up the series and movies from the second generation by buying them used. They pay $1-2 to watch a movie on DVD. They watch TV for free on broadcast.

Lately I discovered which is like pandora but for movies (high speed connection required!) Hulu is hard to place in the scheme above. Many of the movies are “Third generation” (like Rocky or Robocop), but many of the series are almost first generation being available after only one week. As a solid third generation viewer myself (I’m just not all that into watching TV), hulu is perfect and it is hard to understand why paying $50/month just to watch shows one week before they become available for free is worth it. In some cases, series (like Arrested Development) seems to be available for extended periods of time which makes it hard to justify keeping them in their DVD form on the shelf. Consequently, I’m selling some of my acquisitions (Startrek, Rocky, …) to free up some weight/volume in my life. Other ways of getting movies and series are swaptree (my favorite, see banner on the right, I just got Idiocracy) and the library (our library works best for outdated or popular movies).

Originally posted 2009-02-22 17:07:15.